“I study the light and see photography as an exercise in painting with light and shadows.”
Growing up on Long Island (Bethpage), NY – I felt lost in my late teens. Worried about my future direction in life, my father gave me an old Argus rangefinder to fool around with. Little did he realize what an important gesture that would turn out to be for me. After doing some research and seeing the images of Minor White and Ansel Adams I quickly became addicted to photography. To make a long story short, I left home at 21, quitting my job, leaving my friends and family to see the American Southwest for myself. In California I eventually met my wife, and together we had 3 children, and created our own design studio – and the tasks of running a business and raising a family took a priority to Photography. During that time I stopped taking pictures. Years later, in early 2005, inspired by my wife, children and friends – I again picked up my cameras. Today I see myself on a passionate mission to make up for years of lost time – creating images that help evoke how I see our wonderful planet. I feel that I owe much to the great photographers of the past, especially Ansel Adams, for their dedication to the craft and for inspiring me in my late teens. Though I have never met them, their inspiration helped me determine the course my life would take. I live with my wife Wendy, our 2 sons Jason and Joshua – and dog Jimi and our bratty cat Jax in Studio City California.
Landscapes are living eco systems and environments. They have existed well before, and will hopefully be here way beyond the time we are here. When taking photographs, time and space seem hard for me to measure. Whenever I shoot a ‘quality’ image, I know it. At those moments things are quiet, seem simple again – and I obtain a respect and reverence for the world that is hard to communicate through words. For me those moments happen when the exterior environment and my interior world combine. Hopefully the images presented help communicate what is visualized during those times. My work is produced using a digital workflow. All darkroom work is performed in a dry/digital darkroom. Prints are produced using pigment inks on archival cotton rag paper.
Today my cameras act as only an extension of my mind, eye and hands. I don’t think about them much… only as a tool, as a painter would see his/her paint brush. And digital printing is truly an art. From my perspective, producing a great digital print takes the same amount of training, research and skill as producing a great silver print. Because my life in Los Angeles can seem a bit complicated at times, my photography is my escape — it’s just my art. So I try to keep things simple.I currently shoot with Canon 5D Mark II’s (2 bodies). I really like the camera’s Live View as it acts in a similar fashion to the way I used to use the ground glass on my 4×5 and 8×10 cameras. I use only 2 lenses, 24-70mm and 70-200mm L series lenses. I realize, with a zoom, that I may be giving up bit in sharpness but these lenses give me the freedom to compose on the fly — which is a priority to me. And my tripod; I’m not sure I’ve ever shot a frame in my life without a tripod. The only other item is my beanie. It keeps the hair out of my eyes and I use it to keep the rain off the cameras and lenses.
“And digital printing is truly an art. From my perspective, producing a great digital print takes the same amount of training, research and skill as producing a great silver print.”
The first time I saw the work of either Ansel Adams or Minor White I was floored. It may sound a bit cliché, but the images left a major mark on my life. And even today when I look and a great Ansel Adams print or book my world turns upside down again. Sometimes I just feel bombarded with imagery, whether it’s over the Internet, on TV, billboards, movies, magazines, etc. I’m pretty visual so most of it just leads to sensory overload. So I like to stay focused on my family, their priorities… and just live in my own little world. This all helps with my vision for how I experience the world. I’d also like to document how I saw the planet for my children, their kids and our future generations to see. I think I have the rare opportunity to do that. Ya know… sadly I don’t even know my great grand parents names. But they lived lives just as we did. So maybe someone 100+ years from now they will see some of our work and realized we were here?
It’s always about the light. My main focus has always been landscape photography. I have always loved just sitting out in nature, hearing the wind blow and watching the light changing. I study the light and see photography as an exercise in painting with light and shadows. In inclement weather, light and shadows are always changing. Then there are the unexpected things that Mother Nature throws at you, especially when a storm is approaching. It’s a pretty surreal sight. I just try and capture what I see and feel at those moments in my pictures.
A storm is like a person. It’s born when the conditions are right, at birth it is fragile — it can die — but once it decides it’s going to live it turns unpredictable and can become violent. Eventually it matures and takes form, then ages and dies. No two storms are born in the same exact way — and no two storms will ever look (or act) the same. When I’m out there I always hear the mantra spoken by Edward Abbey, “Our job is to record, each in his own way, this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today.”
….. and yes, I guess I’m a thrill seeker at heart, too. Why not? source – petapixel interview
Gallery 4 – “Lightning Striking Again and Again and Again”
Gallery 3 – Cityscapes
GALLERY 2 – ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
Artist Website: http://www.mitchdobrowner.com/
Amazon.com: “Mitch Dobrowner: Storms”